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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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of specific social groups so as to affect the distribution of political power within the society. A census, for example, has been a major element in the controversy over language policy in India. The 1951 census showed a substantial increase in the number of Hindi- and Hindustani-speaking people, primarily by grouping under this category languages which had previously not been included. The demographic data, however, shows that the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the largest Hindi-speaking states in India, have had population growth rates below the national average. In fact, the percentage of India's population living in Uttar Pradesh, the largest Hindi state, has declined from 20.4 percent in 1901 to 16.8 percent in 1961 (54).
The census also played a part in the controversy over the demand to reorganize the Indian states along linguistic lines. For example, in the district of Belgaum, in the northern part of Mysore state bordering on Maharashtra, there has been a dispute between the two major linguistic groups as to whether the entire district should remain in the Kannada-speaking state of Mysore or whether the Marathi-speaking portions should be transferred to neighboring Maharashtra. Because the 1951 census in the town of Belgaum was conducted by the Marathi-speaking staff of the municipal corporation, Kannada politicians argued that Kannada speakers were underenumerated. The quarrel over numbers became so great in the early 1960's that the Mysore state government withheld publication of the 1961 census figures which included linguistic breakdowns in the district.
The 1951 census also showed a decline in the tribal population of India. The census enumerators argued that the British had classified many social groups in the subcontinent as tribal when they ought to have been classified as caste Hindus. But some critics of the government from tribal groups argued that the government was underenumerating tribals in an attempt to circumvent the constitutional provisions giving members of tribes special representation in legislative assemblies and special privileges both in appointments to state governments and in admissions into schools and colleges. The 1961 census, however, showed a rapid increase in the number of people reporting themselves as members of scheduled tribes—a jump of 33 percent from 22.5 million in 1951 to 29.8 million in 1961. This increase is a reflection of a social explosion within India's tribal societies rather than any demographic explosion.
Representation of Groups. Finally, differential fertility rates in different regions of a country can affect the distribution of political power in a representative system. The population growth rate in the large south Indian state of Madras was so low during the 1951-1961 period (11.9 percent against an all-India growth rate of 21.5 percent for the decade, according to the 1961 census) that a number of state politicians have expressed their concern over the long-term position of Madras in the national Parliament, in which representation is determined by population. The difference in growth rate seems cuts both ways. less important.